Fatal Injury Caused by a Ram (Ovis Aries) Attack

The Journal of Forensic Science presents fascinating case studies of forensically-relevant pathology, crime scene analysis, and behavioral science.

This study documents the death of an 83-year old Croatian man killed by a 4 year old, 120 kg ram. Cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries.

The article emphasizes the rare but not insubstantial dangers of attack by sheep, especially rams during the mating season. They are known to head butt and kick. Rams typically injure the victim by running attacks, hitting the target with their head causing blunt force injuries to head and thorax. Lighter breeds can leap and butt the head of the victim in an upright position. It is very dangerous to kneel in the vicinity of a ram. Cattle too have have been seen to cause high velocity trauma in humans: high speed and sufficient body weight can produce high kinetic injuries. “Sheep should be considered among the group of domestic animals that can produce life-threatening blunt force injuries in their attacks.”

The references are very helpful for a better understanding of occupational hazards associated with animal husbandry, including articles on sheep, goat, and cow-related trauma.

Skavic, Sprem, & Kostelic (2015). Fatal injury caused by a ram (Ovis Aries) attack. Journal of Forensic Science, 60, 4, 1380-1382.

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